Understanding Child Cancer with Professor Chitsike

Professor I Chitsike Consultant Paediatric Oncologist (Child Cancer Unit)

Professor I Chitsike Consultant Paediatric Oncologist (Child Cancer Unit)

Group of Hospitals. She is also a Paediatric Professor at the University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences. She sits on a number boards which include, The Child Protection Society, St Giles Rehabilitation Centre and the Southern Africa Aids Trust. Profes-sor Chitsike is an active Rotarian.


On 8 June 2017, the Public Rela-tions Officer for Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals , Mr L .Dhire had the opportunity to interview Professor I Chitsike, who is the Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospi-tals and is responsible for Ward A4 Special. This Ward is specifi-cally dedicated for children with cancer and is the only one of its kind in Zimbabwe. The discus-sion was meant to help members of the public to understand can-cers which can affect children.

Below are some of the key issues which came out from the interview with Prof Chitsike:

  • Cancer is a condition where there is abnormal development of tissues in any part of the human body.
  • Eye cancer and abdominal cancer (kidney cancer) are the two commonest types of can-cer affecting children in Zim-babwe.
  • Parents are advised to regu-larly check any developments in their children’s eyes as well as checking if there are any swellings or tumours develop-ing in their children’s ab-dominal areas. Parents can feel their children’s abdominal are-as using their bare hands.
  • Cancerous tumours in the eye or abdomen may be painless. It is therefore important to pre-sent any abnormal develop-ments to the hospital as soon as they are noticed.
  • Cancer in children is curable if detected and presented to the hospital early enough.
  • Causes of cancer in children are generally not known. There is no known diet which can cause cancer in children
  • and this includes the so called junk food.
  • It is absolutely dangerous for children with cancer to abandon treatment.
  • While people are free to follow their religious convictions, it should never be the reason for abandoning medical treatment for children with cancer.
  • No specific age group among children is more vulnerable to cancer.
  • Most children with cancer pre-sent late to specialist doctors, making management of their condition more difficult.
  • Children with cancer should not be denied treatment for lack of money.
  • The major assistance required for children with cancer are drugs and blood for transfusion.
  • Children with cancer are aware of their condition and as such, they require a lot of psycho- social support.
  • Once one child is affected by cancer, usually the whole family is psychologically and financially affected.
  • Cancer in children is not com-mon in Zimbabwe. It is a rare condition among children in Zimbabwe.